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  • Zygo Team Wins Engineering Award for Metrology
Oct 2013
MIDDLEFIELD, Conn., Oct. 10, 2013 — The Zygo Automotive Precision Optical Metrology team has won the 2013 Paul F. Forman Engineering Excellence Award from The Optical Society (OSA), the company recently announced.

In presenting the award at the Frontiers in Optics (FiO 2013) meeting in Orlando, Fla., this week, OSA cited “over a decade of outstanding engineering work in developing custom optical metrology solutions for the automotive industry, enabling ever-higher precision engineering tolerances for improved emissions, reliability and fuel efficiency.”

In the late 1990s, automotive suppliers — driven by tightening tolerances related to air pollution, fuel efficiency and high-pressure diesel injector development — began seeking practical alternatives to mechanical stylus metrology and mechanical coordinate-measuring machine systems for surface topography, texture and form. The Zygo team then began working with supplier R&D groups to find effective solutions based on noncontact optical gaging. The engineering included demonstration of tool capability and fixturing of automotive parts, measuring roughness and shape within high-precision requirements, and detailing topography of features that were difficult or impossible to adequately evaluate using then-standard contact metrology.

The team’s successes led to installations in quality control labs, preproduction lines, then onto the production floor as the default metrology, the company said. The work involved cooperation with national institutes to create new calibration standards and evaluation procedures. Through their efforts, interferometric systems superseded stylus and other gage technologies to become gold-standard, inline production tools.

The optical metrology advances ultimately resulted in a “sea change” for process control engineers, Zygo said.

The Zygo team is led by Frank Stanzel, Dipl.-Ing. (FH), of ZygoLOT in Darmstadt, Germany, and includes Dr. Robert Sachs, Herbert Grois, Dipl.-Ing. (FH), Udo Waigand and Johann Ableitner.

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The study and utilization of interference phenomena, based on the wave properties of light.
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